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By Pete Moore On October 12th, 2013 at 7:42 pm

What a photo, eh? (it clicks big, and should then click bigger)

While looking for something else I came across this wonderful photo. It’s taken at the Arsenal Stadium, what everyone knew – erroneously – as Highbury, a place I know (knew – sob!) so well. The occasion: The Arsenal vs Glasgow Rangers. The date: 17th October 1951. Attendance: 62,000. Weather: Smog with fog, turning to a smokers smog with more fog. Ah yeah, and the result: The Gunners 3:2 Rangers. Go on, click on the pic.

Highbury under lights

For American readers, this was a football (that’s ‘football’) match in North London, back when London was famously smogged out in the immediate post-war years. It was also at the home of the Arsenal, the glorious Gunners, my club, my father’s club, my grandfather’s club and a place I went to hundreds of times before we moved to a shiny new stadium just around the corner. Like countless other Gooners, I think the shiny new home is nice and impressive, but Highbury is Highbury, the place we were baptised into Goonerdom and which will always be home.

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By Pete Moore On May 27th, 2013 at 7:16 pm

To the West Country, where 3000 cheese-rolling dissidents defy authority, choosing to do what they like. Quelle horreur!

(Warning, there’s a busted ankle at 2:35)

(h/t Agit8ed)


By Pete Moore On November 6th, 2012 at 1:18 am

… no-one complains to the Police

British Christmas presents, or WTF?

By Mike Cunningham On January 13th, 2012 at 9:43 am


Most if not all of the Kindle e-book readers bought by the hundreds of thousands from the online retailer Amazon over the Christmas present season have either been slung in a corner, or damaged as the owners realise that it is not an add-on for an X-Box or a Playstation.

Most new Kindle owners were extremely upset when they realised that it not only could not play ‘World of Warcraft’ or ‘Battlefield 3′; all the device could do was exhibit pages from an outdated technology known as books.

Waynetta Scrubs, of Billericay, collectively given a Kindle by her nine children, (the product of one- or two-night stands with seven (or was it six) blokes after getting paralytically drunk on maxi-bottles of Smirnoff, studied the instructions on the box with the aid of her oldest son. She then asked, “What the F*** did yew get me this heap of rubbish for? Yew trying to get at me cos’ yew fink I’m fick? Switch on the box, TOWIE is on in five minnits!”


By Pete Moore On November 19th, 2011 at 5:16 pm

IF you drive east toward the coast through the Dengie Peninsula in Essex, park up in the last village you find, carry on by walking out of the village on a lonely road, continue on when it becomes an ancient track and walk as far as you can go, you’ll eventually arrive at a place, with just one building overlooking the sea, called ‘Othona’. Othona was a 3rd-Century Roman fort, part of the Saxon Shore series of fortresses, built to defend against Saxon raids which were then beginning.

St Cedd arrived at this place by boat in 654 AD, long after the Romans had left, tasked with converting the pagan East Saxons to Christianity, since they were now making themselves comfortable around here. He must have been a persuasive chap because the following year he was appointed Bishop to the East Saxons. He then built a church where he had landed, dedicated to St Peter, on the gatehouse of Othona, using the stones of the fort. That’s it on the left, the oldest church in England, still standing where St Cedd arrived (click the pic).

It’s always open and, apart from a few running repairs, it’s as St Cedd made it nearly 1350 years ago, flecked red with Roman roof tile in the walls. It’s very simple, just a rectangular barn-like structure with no embellishments, a simple alter and wooden benches inside. To me it’s also one of the most beautiful buildings in the land, a great place to put a few miles under your feet when you need to stretch your legs.


By Pete Moore On August 27th, 2011 at 4:49 pm

The wretched Home Secretary, Theresa May, has conspired with the Metropolitan Police to ban a planned English Defence League march through Tower Hamlets in London. And the doesn’t stop there:

The home secretary has agreed to a police request to ban the far-right English Defence League from staging a march through one of the UK’s biggest Muslim communities in east London.

Theresa May said she would outlaw any marches in Tower Hamlets and four neighbouring boroughs – whether by the EDL or any other groups – for the next 30 days, having “balanced rights to protest against the need to ensure local communities and property are protected”.

So that’s all marches, protests and demonstrations banned for a month in a great chunk of London by executive fiat. Here’s some advice to the EDL and all who are barred from being heard: do it, make your voices heard. There are 63 million of us, just a few of them.

The streets belong to we, the people. They do not belong to the useless and clearly frightened police, they do not belong to any interior minister, to the government or any state agent. If a free-born Englishman wants to demonstrate on his streets he is free to do so at any time.

Compliance with a state directive is only obligatory as long as you believe it to be obligatory. The order to stay away is unBritish and illegitimate. Ignore it, put your walking boots on and reclaim your streets from these authoritarian parasites.


By David Vance On August 20th, 2011 at 9:30 am

Some interesting thoughts from Dr David Starkey writing in the Telegraph this morning;

One of the most striking things about the England riots is where they did not happen: Yorkshire, the North East, Wales and Scotland. These areas contain some of the worst pockets of unemployment in the country. But they are also characterised by a powerful sense of regional or national identity and difference that cuts across all classes and binds them together. And it is this, I am sure, which has inoculated them against the disease of “gangsta” culture and its attendant, indiscriminate violence.

Scotland, Alex Salmond says smugly, is a “different culture”. It is indeed, since the Scots are allowed – and even encouraged – to be as racist as they please and hate the English with glad abandon.

I do not want a similar licensed xenophobia here. But an English nationalism we must have. And it must be one that includes all our people: white and black and mixed race alike.

I think he is right. England is not allowed to be nationalistic, unlike the Celtic fringe. Why? Is it because the metropolitan elite consider nationalism below them? Or is it perhaps too dangerous a genie to be allowed out of the bottle? I have often speculated upon why the English people allow the Celtic fringe to rip them off so much? Why do they work so hard – and here I am talking about the South-East of England in particular – so that government can take their taxes and redistribute to the welfare class elsewhere who deign work beneath their dignity? Why, for that matter, should they accept that Scottish MP’s can interfere in their affairs at Westminster whilst they cannot influence what happens at Hollyrood?

I have no problems with English Nationalism given the generous nature of the English people. I don’t always agree with them but I do believe they should be allowed to speak on how their wealth is spent, on what their priorities are, and how this is best politically expressed.


By Pete Moore On August 2nd, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Jonathan Pearce at samizdata resurrects that AJP Taylor quote. It bears repeating, both as a reminder of the subsequent and truly revolutionary takeover of British civil society by the state and as a rebuke to those who cannot imagine life other than as they have lived it:

“Until August 1914 a sensible, law-abiding Englishman could pass through life and hardly notice the existence of the state, beyond the post office and the policeman. He could live where he liked and as he liked. He had no official number or identity card. He could travel abroad or leave his country for ever without a passport or any sort of official permission. He could exchange his money for any other currency without restriction or limit. He could buy goods from any country in the world on the same terms as he bought goods at home. For that matter, a foreigner could spend his life in this country without permit and without informing the police. Unlike the countries of the European continent, the state did not require its citizens to perform military service. An Englishman could enlist, if he chose, in the regular army, the navy, or the territorials. He could also ignore, if he chose, the demands of national defence. Substantial householders were occasionally called on for jury service. Otherwise, only those helped the state who wished to do so. The Englishman paid taxes on a modest scale: nearly £200 million in 1913-14, or rather less than 8 per cent. of the national income. The state intervened to prevent the citizen from eating adulterated food or contracting certain infectious diseases. It imposed safety rules in factories, and prevented women, and adult males in some industries, from working excessive hours. The state saw to it that children received education up to the age of 13. Since 1 January 1909, it provided a meagre pension for the needy over the age of 70. Since 1911, it helped to insure certain classes of workers against sickness and unemployment. This tendency towards more state action was increasing. Expenditure on the social services had roughly doubled since the Liberals took office in 1905. Still, broadly speaking, the state acted only to help those who could not help themselves. It left the adult citizen alone.”

Before “that type” of accusation is levelled, Taylor was a socialist who greatly sympathised with the Soviet Union. He had no incentive paint a false picture of life in the recent past.

I remain a 1910 man in a 2011 world.


By Pete Moore On July 30th, 2011 at 6:33 pm

If you’re American, I was “on the trail” today. If you’re British or Irish, I “went for a walk”.  And what a walk too, through some of God’s creation that’s Epping Forest.

It’s a place I’ve neglected for some years although I’ve been putting that right recently. It’s good to see Mother Nature hasn’t also neglected these glorious woods. They’re as thick, dark and lush as I remember. You see, dear reader, your humble correspondent pretty much grew up in this place. When I were a nipper I’d usually be fishing the lakes or tearing around on my BMX. Little did I realise I was gaining an education every bit as valuable as anything taught in a classroom. It’s here that I learned how to use a map and compass, site a camp, erect a shelter, make a feather stick and build a fire, use a bushcraft knife, set a snare, identify wild food, camouflage techniques, tracking and all those other ancient and wonderful things boys should know. I still remember it all and the great times we had in learning them. Most of what a teacher ever said to me has long gone.

But … no, I’m sure social engineers are right. Learning how to score drugs and get pregnant must be more “socially relevant” or something. Strewth, half of what we got up to in Epping Forest is probably illegal now.

Even so, if you have children then opening the door and dragging the little darlings out probably won’t do them any harm. That’s eight miles, a million trees, a secret valley rediscovered, some muntjac spotted, a few rabbits, a pair of tired legs – and a few beers coming up.


By Pete Moore On March 19th, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Well done to Ireland for a thoroughly deserved victory. Where have they been hiding all winter? They were irresistible, irrepressible and spanked England’s backside for 80 minutes. As always, forwards determine who’ll win the game and the result was never in doubt. As so often, despite the forwards’ efforts (and a special mention to the astonishingly good David Wallace, he has never played better), Brian O’Driscoll was decisive. For him comes a record number of tries for the Championship. The man’s a genius, one of the all-time greats and recklessly brave. He deserves it.

To England, have some of that. Even without the astonishing Irish intensity and always idiosyncratic referee Bryce Lawrence, being completely dopey for an hour will do you and we were well done. However, congratulations also to England for being the deserved 6 Nations Champions. We’ve been the most consistent team, scored the most points and deserve to finish top of the pile. Given that many players are very young and playing in their first 6 Nations, it’s a real achievement. In the long term, today’s arse-spanking will be a lesson well learned.